Council names Cooper aide Brenda Wynn interim county clerk

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 12:28am

Brenda Wynn is the new interim Davidson County clerk after the Metro Council picked the former U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper aide over a council colleague to succeed the departed John Arriola.

Wynn, former director of community outreach in Cooper’s congressional office, garnered 28 council votes for the post Tuesday, easily besting At-large Councilman Charlie Tygard who collected just nine votes. She replaces Arriola, who resigned in June after a television report the previous year revealed he collected $40 fees from couples for performing wedding ceremonies. A year of controversy ensued, prompting his exit.

“I will do my very best to restore the public’s confidence and trust in this office,” a celebratory Wynn told reporters Tuesday.

Wynn, already named the Democratic Party’s nominee for the November general election, expects to be sworn into office Friday and to begin her first day on the job Monday. Tops on her to-do list is a “complete audit” of the office and a installing a zero-tolerance policy by banning the acceptance of gratuities for wedding ceremonies.

“I know that there’s some great people there who want to serve our community, and I want to be a part of making that office accountable to the citizens of Davidson County,” she said.

The council’s appointment Tuesday gives the clerk’s job to Wynn on a temporary basis until November. She will then have to earn the job full-time during November’s election, but it’s still unclear whether she’ll have an opponent.

Following Arriola’s resignation, the Davidson County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee moved promptly to make Wynn its nominee. The county’s Republican Party hasn’t selected a nominee, however. It has until Aug. 16 to do so.

Wynn went into Tuesday the heavy favorite to capture the appointment of the Democratic-leaning council. Her main challenger came from Tygard, whose nine votes came from the council’s conservative pack.

Tygard, one of Arriola’s fiercest council critic, told council members Tuesday he would not run for the office in November, if appointed, “and would focus instead solely on restoring the confidence of the county clerk’s department.” He pledged to donate the $20,000 earned from his interim service to charities.

But many council members arrived at the courthouse already sporting Wynn stickers. A large contingent spoke on behalf of Wynn’s candidacy.

A third clerk candidate Kenneth Eaton withdrew his name from consideration after he suggested the council had already made its decision. A fourth candidate James Baxter failed to show up for a committee interview, and was therefore eliminated from consideration.

8 Comments on this post:

By: political1iam on 8/7/12 at 10:50

Tygard: Will clerk for food!!
What a joke!

By: humble on 8/8/12 at 4:58

Did you not listen? Tygard offered to do it for free!

By: govskeptic on 8/8/12 at 6:30

Maybe best candidate or not, certainly was per-ordained by the City
Power structure. Old Honest Charlie Tygard won't get to perform
any Marriage Ceremonies after all!

By: MetalMan on 8/8/12 at 7:56

Ah oh. If she was Cooper's aid. she'll bear watching. Cooper's the best con man around.

By: breathofdeath on 8/8/12 at 8:01

But Charlie can already perform wedding ceremonies because council members are empowered by law to do so. Even though I'm not thrilled by the selection (or the candidate pool as a whole) I'm glad Tygard didn't get it. He comes across to people as nothing but a career political hack who wants to keep getting paid by the taxpayers. He's also the one who thumbed his nose at the will of the voters when he was term-limited from district 35 and got a cushy opinion from Metro Legal saying at-large council seats were different from district seats, which he used to run for and win an at-large seat without having to sit out 4 years (a position that was later crafted into a charter amendment that was passed by the idiots- I mean electorate- of Davidson County). Plus, after having one of the loudest mouths when it came to criticizing Arriola I'm sure he was facing the perception of some that he was making a power grab by going for the job he helped drive Arriola out of. But let's not forget the real reason he lost: even though local elections are officially non-partisan most council members are good loyal Democrats who like to reward their own (Republicans are no different). Tygard isn't a Democrat and Wynn is. So govskeptic is right, the outcome really was pre-ordained.

By: WayneR on 8/8/12 at 9:24

>... At-large Councilman Charlie Tygard who collected just nine votes...

Old Mr. Ethics himself, who when he was a mere councilman representing Bellevue, sponsored legislation giving $5000 of your tax dollars to the Bellevue Exchange Club, of which he was, get this, treasurer. Apparently he has no concept of conflict-of-interest in his consciousness.

He then led the charge to bring as much heat (deserved, I might add) to John Arriola, knowing (at what point did his premeditation occur?) that this $100K+ job would suit him just fine. And surely he could get the votes of his fellow council members to support him in his quest for this plum gig.

It turns out that of forty (40) possible votes, Mr. Tygard could obtain only nine(9), a measure of the regard in which Councilman Tygard is held by his peers. A whopping 22% of his fellow members found him suitable while 78% cast their votes for Ms. Wynn over Mr. Tygard, a resounding vote against the conflicted councilman.

Go for another Metro job Councilman Tygard. Surely you have cast your eye on another government position once your current gig is finished.

None too hopeful,


By: Jughead on 8/9/12 at 12:03

Jim Cooper is a turd. Brenda Wynn is not.

By: Shadow63 on 8/12/12 at 1:06

Why is Arriola not in jail??? Does he belong to the local "Good ole Boys" network, or does he have something on somebody?